“A deeply moving account of the extraordinary strengths that ordinary people can display when tragedy confronts them. As emotionally powerful a book as you are likely ever to read.”
–David J. Garrow, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Bearing the Cross
In August 1995, twenty-six passengers and a crew of three board a commuter plane in Atlanta headed for Gulfport, Mississippi. Shortly after takeoff they hear an explosion and, looking out the windows on the left side, see a mangled engine lodged against the wing. From that moment, nine minutes and twenty seconds elapse until the crippled plane crashes in a west Georgia hayfield–nine minutes and twenty seconds in which Gary Pomerantz takes readers deep into the hearts and minds of the people aboard, each of whom prepares in his or her own way for what may come.
Ultimately, nineteen people survive both the crash and its devastating aftermath, all of them profoundly affected by what they have seen and, more important, what they have done to help themselves and others.
This is not so much a book about a plane crash as it is a psychologically illuminating real-life drama about ordinary people and how they behave in extraordinary circumstances. Each of us has wondered what we would do to survive a life-threatening situation: Would I survive? How would I conduct myself–would I act to save others in need or only myself? Would others try to save me? How would I be affected by the experience? Judging by what is revealed in Nine Minutes, Twenty Seconds, the answers are surprisingly optimistic.
In telling the remarkable stories of these twenty-nine men and women, Gary Pomerantz has written one of the most compelling books in recent memory. Open to any page and you’ll immediately be drawn into the dramatic pull of the narrative. But on a deeper level, Nine Minutes, Twenty Seconds speaks as powerfully about our capacity to care for others as it does about the strength of our will to live. This rich and rewarding book will linger in your mind long after you turn the last page.
About Gary M. Pomerantz
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Published September 4, 2001
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